Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Cold cap" could save hair during chemo

There is not a female who has not experienced or feared losing her hair during cancer treatment. Chemo kills fast-growing cells such as hair, along with cancer cells--and hair can sometimes fall out.

Tara Parker-Pope, NYT, Mar 9, 2015, says freezing the scalp, a treatment used in Europe, is becoming more popular in the United States. A special frozen cap is placed on the head as the chemo drips in and in some places, for a period after to make the treatment more effective.

One such device is the Penguin Cold Cap--a series of tight-fitting caps similar to bathing caps that can be changed every half-hour--for a rental of $600 a month.

They have done research, not published yet, that shows that most women who used the cap did not lose their hair. It's uncomfortably cold at times--but women seem to tolerate it.

Another one--the Dignicap--may soon get FDA approval--meaning insurance may pay.

One woman said the cap made her look like Snoopy as the Red Baron, but at least with hair, she did not look pathetic and sick.

Some people worried that by slowing the chemo that got to the scalp--cancer could affect the scalp more easily--but there is no science showing this. Also--this only works for chemo for hard tumors--not blood cancers.

Worth asking about?

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